National Guard leave bill to get U.S. House vote this week

WASHINGTON – Members of Minnesota’s National Guard deployed to Afghanistan and to the Iraq theater would get leave time promised to them before their deployment if a U.S. House bill becomes law.

The Defense Department changed its leave policy for National Guard soldiers last year after 2,700 members of the Minnesota’s Red Bulls were activated and sent Afghanistan and Kuwait. Some members could have lost as much as 27 days of leave under the new policy, according to U.S. Rep. John Kline’s office.

Kline, a Republican, is sponsoring legislation in the U.S. House to force the Defense Department to give the soldiers the leave they were eligible for at the time of their deployment. A vote on the bill is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday evening.

“Promises made should be promises kept,” said Kline in a statement issued Friday.

The legislation is likely to pass. It is being considered under fast-track rules that prevent amendments and requires two-thirds support for passage.

DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has sponsored similar legislation though no vote has been scheduled in the Senate.

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